Creek Farm

Portsmouth
36 acres

Click here for a PDF with a map, and trail information.

The inside scoop…

Once part of the 18th-century farm of royal Governor Benning Wentworth, this coastal hideaway borders the shoreline of tidal Sagamore Creek. You’ll find remnants of the old estate, including Creek Farm Cottage built in 1887 now used by the Shoals Marine Lab for research. The short trail around the property follows the shoreline past a canoe/kayak launch and a man-made tidal pool. At low tide, you can walk across the connecting strip of land to Goose Island. If you come to paddle, haul your craft across the lawn to the put-in, then head left toward Portsmouth harbor for views of the Wentworth Coolidge Mansion and Wentworth by the Sea Hotel. Or go up Sagamore Creek and stop by BG’s Boat House for a lobster roll.

Trail information

Goose Island Trail

Difficulty: Easy
Round trip distance: 0.8 miles
Trail marking: none

The trail at Creek Farm Reservation offers a short but scenic walk over level terrain. The trail from the parking area proceeds toward the waterfront along Sagamore Creek. A right at the first fork will bring you to a carry-in canoe/kayak access. The Goose Island trail passes through woods, fields, and a pear orchard to views of Goose Island, Wentworth Coolidge Historic Site, and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Return to the parking area along the same trail.

Recreational uses

Walking, picnicking, nature study, canoeing/kayaking, and fishing. Hunting is allowed in season but restricted near all structures. Dogs are not allowed at Creek Farm Reservation. The buildings and wharf are closed to the public. No wheeled vehicles, including bicycles. No camping or fires permitted.

What you'll find

Kiosk and parking area, trail, canoe/kayak access to Sagamore Creek. The Creek Farm Cottage and other structures are operated by Cornell University’s Shoals Marine Lab and are not open to the public.

Property history

Year of acquisition: 2000

Historical uses: The Sagamore Creek area holds significant agricultural heritage. In fact, the site of Creek Farm, believed to have been occupied by early settler Nicholas Rowe in 1640, was one of the earliest places in New Hampshire to be cultivated. It was later part of the 18th-century farm of the royal governor of NH, Benning Wentworth. Some of the fieldstone boundary walls that can be observed now crossing the property define ancient property lines that were recorded on early maps of the area.

The main house and grounds, for which Creek Farm’s history is notable, were created beginning in 1888 for Arthur Astor Carey, a leader in New England’s cultural and artistic life. He purchased 40 acres of the original Benning Wentworth farm for a summer home and commissioned Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, the nephew of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to design it. Creek Farm served as a focal point for artists summering at the Seacoast and also hosted delegates to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty in 1905, ending the Russo-Japanese War.

In 1957 Lillian and Chester Noel purchased the property from the Carey family. Shortly after her husband’s death in 1997, Lillian “Billie” Noel granted a conservation easement on the property on all but the house and five acres to the state of New Hampshire. In September of 2000, she conveyed the entire property at a bargain sale to the Forest Society, with the intent that it remain as a conservation area in perpetuity. The house is currently leased to the Shoals Marine Laboratory, a collaborative program of Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire.The property serves as a tree farm, bird sanctuary and wildlife reservation.

We are grateful to Billie for making this tremendous gift of open space and for all who contributed toward its purchase.

Directions

Visitor parking area

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Coordinates

N 43° 3' 28.16", W 70° 44' 26.79"
N 43° 3.469', W 70° 44.447'
N 43.05782°, W 70.74078°

click here for a larger map

Updated

April 2013

About the Forest Society

Since 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has worked to establish permanent conservation areas and promote the wise stewardship of private lands. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. For more information, visit our main web page at www.forestsociety.org.


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